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Critical Patriotism: Incorporating Nationality into MFT Education and Training

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Abstract

Topics such as national identity, patriotism, nationalism, and international issues often lead to polarization within the United States and as a result, critical dialogue about these complex topics often does not occur in a meaningful way. The lack of critical inquiry and interaction about these topics is manifest at the macro and the micro level, including within the context of marriage and family therapy training and practice. While the field of MFT has devoted greater attention to addressing issues of diversity in recent years, limited attention has been focused on examining nationality and nationalism. This article presents a critical patriotism framework that training programs can use to examine nationality and expand awareness of international issues and perspectives. Special attention is focused on examining how nationalism, a problematic extreme version of patriotism, infiltrates MFT training and practice. Recommendations are provided for how training programs can focus on nationality, expand awareness of international issues and perspectives, and guide trainees in exploring how their national identity, beliefs about patriotism, and nationalistic attitudes may influence their clinical work.

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